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BookTV Visits Providence, RI. Education. (2013)

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Johnson 19, Us 17, Wilbur 14, Roger Williams 14, America 13, United States 8, Athenaeum 8, Lyndon Johnson 6, U.s. 6, Ronald Reagan 5, England 5, Washington 5, Harry Truman 5, Obama Administration 4, George Bush 4, Brown 4, Jimmy Carter 4, Massachusetts 4, Oklahoma 3, Vietnam 3,
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  CSPAN    Book TV    BookTV Visits  
   Providence, RI.  Education.  (2013)  

    January 6, 2013
    9:00 - 11:00am EST  

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where the risk of a blowup is the risk to each of us and where those actors have been very successful in shrugging off and keeping away the kind of regulation that could mitigate that risk. it's unclear to me how that battle is going to play out, and the point of the book is to say we need to pay attention there, we need to have balance. not one or the other, but we need to have of balance there. and right now particularly in the united states we're seriously out of balance. >> host: "power, inc." is the name of the book. david rothkopf is our the author. he's been our guest on booktv. ..
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>> one of the more careful mayors -- colorful mayors you will find in the country. he was part huey long, part tony soprano. the good and the bad. he reflected providence as one of america's oldest cities. to me really embodies the american political story. >> welcome to providence on booktv. with help of art cox communications partners, we will export a rich literary culture of this capital city as we travel to these local authors and to learn about the history of this town and the state of rhode island. we begin our program with a visit to providence literally
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landmark. >> to climb up those steps and make your way in and then to arrive at the top of the steps and then look in and see the mezzanine filled with books and it's inspiring. >> i love when we have visitors that come in for the first time. they walk in the front door. and usually if it's someone who's new to the public, the first thing i hear is a giant side, and then the next word out of their mouth is oh, my goodness, this is what a vibration look like. part of what i find, sometimes overwhelming but totally gratifying is this institution has existed for hundreds of years, and every day when i come into work i get to contribute to history. the athenaeum is this wonderful
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unique library and culture center in the historic section of providence. we are one of about 17 membership libraries that still exist in the country today. i'm proud to say the providence athenaeum is one of two that exist in rhode island. rhode island. we have a sister organization that predates us in newport, and that's the redwood library. the word athenaeum comes from the greek idea of learning, and it's so fitting that our architecture is based on a greek style where it is the temple of money. but athenaeum was a place where people came to converse and talk about their ideology, their theology, their learning, their science of exploration, and it was really a convenience for learning. and it still is today.
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we trace our history back to 1753, when the providence library company formed, by the merchants and the man at the day to form and library greater than any one individual could. and they did that in order to share resources, and at that time the city was growing and they wanted to make that information available to all. so the providence library company existed in many places throughout the city, often being at the seat of town government, and they purchased their material from england. their original collection was about 345 titles. and fortunately had a tragic event in the late 1700s where there was a fire on christmas eve, and of those 345 titles, they had originally purchased, they lost many end up fire except for about 70 that were still in circulation. we actually have some of that founding collection.
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what's really interesting is that they had the foresight to make a notation so that they knew they were following the original founding collection, and as a got back into the library. so if you see very closely up on the top there's a little tiny asterisk. so they made a notation in the average and register, and they also made it on the book. because they were looking to come and we continue, to try to replace the original volumes as they become available. so they were tracking them early on. they went on and ended up still purchasing more books in different buildings throughout the city. later, in the 1800s, there was another organization called the providence athenaeum that formed in 1831.
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in 1836, the athenaeum providence was formed as a result of these two organizations, and we ended up building an arcade downtown for a couple of years, while this property was being built on the corner. and then we moved in here in 1838, and we opened our doors onto what was the marketplace at that time. and francis wayland, the former president of brown university, standing out on the doors, wide open, and the crowd had gathered, he's talking about let us not labor for the eastside, for the website, the south side, the north side, but for the sake of providence so that all may partake. and so we have stayed true to that mission. the historical significance of this building is really quite profound. the building itself, the
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original building was built in 1838. the architect was william strickland, who was a young architect, really one of the early founders of the american institute for architects, and this is one of its only examples of greek revival architecture here in the city. the athenaeum is special in many ways. i think it's special, obviously, from what you see visually. this is just an amazing space. i always refer to it as the inspired space. and while the viewers cannot experience actually being -- there's just a real smell of old books and leather, and i always liken it to frankincense amber, but it's just, it's a very personal space.
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-- frankincense amber. and i think people come for the sense of the building to i think they come because there's a real sense of community. we don't have library cards. it's almost like cheers where everybody knows your name and you walk into the building. we are not necessary the quietest library either because the circulation desk is located right in the center of the space. we are always saying old friends as they come in. we actually predated the public library movement when the providence library and company was formed. it was based on the benjamin franklin idea where the company, the founding fathers actually had a company and they bought shares. so they invest in that and they use those resources to purchase their books. the early organization, the providence athenaeum, had also done a similar thing. so basically we were organized, we were membership-based libraries. and so the members of that organization purchased shares
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and then they made those available to their families and so forth. when the public library movement came into being, then, of course, they were using the resources from the community to support those libraries. membership libraries are still supported by members, and so we consider ourselves coming from that tradition in independent member supported libraries open to the public. so that means all our funding, unlike the public library, basically comes from our resources but we are fortunate that the people that started this institution years and years ago fought to stewart it as well, and so we do have an endowment which we rely on. but most of our financial means comes from the members themselves, and they purchased the membership. so while we are open to the public, people can come in, utilize the space, enjoy the space, come to programs. but if they want to actually borrow a book, then they would
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purchase a membership fee. and that's really our financial model along with much fund-raising. we've had just under 1000 members today. as far as the type of person that finds the athenaeum, it's usually someone that is intellectually curious, is enthralled with history, is probably a bibliophile and loves books, the smell of books, the feel of books. someone that is culturally invested in the community and wants to be suitably engaged, someone that is looking for new experiences through our programming. one of the reasons why tourists come through and visit the athenaeum is they have heard these amazing stories about how edgar allan poe corded sarah whitman here.
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sarah helen whitman was actually a poet herself, and a writer and a prominent woman here in providence, and she had become quite enamored by mr. poe, much to her family's dissatisfaction, because he had somewhat of a reputation, at sarah helen whitman would come here and use the athenaeum and edgar allan so was known to have visited us here and corded her here in the steps. in fact, we have a copy of a poem that had been published in the american review, anonymously, and the story is that they were meeting in testing and she pointed out and said oh, have you seen this poem? and he says why, sarah, i wrote that for you. and so his signature is in pencil under the poem. our collections really represent the reading interest of the populist at that time.
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and as a combination of perhaps our reluctance of our founding fathers and librarians that continue to work your and didn't want to discard anything, we retain many of those collections. and so now those collections really represent insights into a group of people that we're trying to form a library at that time, where their own civilization is really taken form. this place has witnessed civil unrest, economic unrest, the american revolution, whether travesties, and then still somehow has continued to keep its foothold. and today, we continue to be circulating library true to our mission, but also a very vibrant, active cultural center where we are an amplifier if you will, of local arts and culture. we really tried to embrace that
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part of our mission by working with the city, members of my staff along with me, participate in the creative providence plan. we also collaborate with over 100 organizations here in the city. and have built those collaborations over the last six or seven years in a way that has helped put us more in the forefront of the activity of a community versus really the perception of an old historic library that is merely a repository of books on a dusty shelf, but more of an institution that is leading the past teach it to be relevant in the future. >> u.s. senator sheldon whitehouse is next from providence, rhode island.
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his book is "on virtues: quotations and insights to live a full, honorable, and truly american life." >> we were coming on that dreadful field and we are passing through the open ranks of the superb brigade of infantry. we were bracket and we had no shoes. that banners are army had formed at the heights of gettysburg were bloody and insurance. there were less than a thousand of us with arms in our hand. no, they were bright and burnished steel but this is a book that is somewhat personal and quirky book, but it's one person's look through history, and through what people have said in the past two call of things that have meaning that i think still have meaning in modern life. >> i collected sayings that i'd like for my own use.
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and then as i got more into, i began to collect them what they thought that this was something i could pass on to my children. and i ran across a college friend, and he saw the book and he said, you know, this is pretty good, you ought to consider publishing it. and he knew an agent, and on it went from there. so my sort of ratty, had written old book has now been turned into this nice looking thing. i started collecting quotes when i was working for governor sunil and -- sunderland. and then when it went on to the u.s. attorney's, attorney general's office and so forth, i kept adding to them. and the reason was twofold. one was to keep a record of things that meant a lot to me. the other for silva to keep a record of things i thought would
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be useful in arguments and debates in professions, to make points and things like that. so lawyers looking at this book will flip through it and see, you know, there's a lot of quotations from supreme court cases, and i tried to assimilate into the same sort of packet so that you get the point and you can move onto other things. but there's a piece of this that was about being a better lawyer and advocate, as well as being a better person instead of, and like you don't always succeed but you can try to. and in times of stress or when questioning something, i fairly often go back and flipped his book, or i tried to member something that was in it. and there are examples of courage and of heroism and the
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faith and of strengthen, and holding through -- holding further difficult circumstances, and all those things i think are useful in life, even if i don't succeed in implementing them. a quote from isaiah. and the lord said, who shall i send who shall go forth? and i said lord, here i am, send me. i think here i am, send me spirit is one that i was brought up with. and i tried to show that as a principle that i care about and live with them own life but i did want a resource that i could go back to that had things that meant something to me. and it still is that resource. i've used the quotes and speeches in the senate. when the bush administration was
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trying to justify its use of torture, i used a quote from mr. churchill about how it looks good at the beginning, but go down that road and it gets bad, and he talks about staircase leading down, brightly lit and carpeted at the top. and as you go down, the carpet ends and eventually it crumbles beneath your feet. and that's a great image. sometimes the right image can make the difference in an argument. i'm very, very exposed and engaged in rhode island's life, so, you know, things like our revolutionary war general that daniel green saying, you know, i fight, i get be, -- i get beat, i rise up and fight again. that's a good rhode island quote. the synagogue, wrote a letter to
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george washington asking that it should always be the policy of the united states to give bigotry to no sanction, to persecution, no assistance. washington was a politicians get for good phrase steals it out of the letter and writes it back to him, to the congregation. there are a number of other, those are good rhode island history, some of it is just a lot more personal. my predecessor in the senate advised, was advised by his father, never tease the crocodile until your crossed the stream. and that something that i think if your legislative business, when you're working with someone something you don't want to annoy them too much. so there's a lot of rhode island history in you, and a lot of life experience of rhode island in here. i think one of the things about the book that, and its quotes that defines the truly american life is my sense that a true
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american life includes being engaged as a citizen. being engaged as a voter, being engaged as a public voice, being engaged in office, being engaged in your community. however, you choose to do, i think it's very inherently american to see ourselves as citizens and see ourselves as having an active and full role in our community, our society and our politics. and so, a lot of these quotes focus on that relationship, the structure of government, how it works, its frustrations, its occasional moments of glory, what people who spent a lot of a lot of time in it have thought and said about it here and i hope that the book encourages both a little bit of patience with our politics, but also a heightened engagement. i hope what sets my part is it's not just a reference work. it's not the place where you go to look for a quote to open a
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speech. it's a more, something that someone can flip through it their thing but issues in their life, if they are wondering about their engagement as citizens, if they are facing some suffering or uncertainty. and i think that the book, just because of the way it was selected, ends up having a bit of a voice of its own, whereas a regular reference book full of quotations, they come from every different angle. i think this kind of a flow or a theme to a lot of what's in this book. i put the comments in after the quotations, sometimes just to highlight the parts of the quotation that i particularly like, or sometimes to show why i thought it was important in case somebody was wondering why it was in there.
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it also i think makes the book all the more personal because each quote comes with a little explanation. it's almost like, you know, a little gift from me rather than just here's this array. i want to read this take away from this book, the sense that they have a lot to contribute. and a richer or more nuanced understanding of how kind of unusual and special a political process it is. here we are in a sort of loggerheads moment, and you, these situations repeat themselves through time and you go back and think people who have been in them before. and there's a quote from a very widely minister -- while the minister of france who said, one ought not to be obstinate,
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unless one ought to be. then, one to be unshakable. and i think that's a good phrase for the moment that we are in right now. i hope that the president, where he ought to be obstinate will be unshakable. i still collect quotes, and i think i probably will the rest of my life. whether it's a window into the moment of history all right particular well phrased thought that has an emotional resonance to it are good things to have on hand. >> and now, robert self, author of "all in the family: the realignment of american democracy since the 1960s." booktv sat down with mr. self exploit the local literary and a struggle culture of the area with the help of our cable partner, cox communications.
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>> "all in the family" is a prehistory of the cultural wars. it's an explanation for why in the last two generations our politics have been dominated why questions of women's roles in society, gender, sexuality and the family. it really tries to explain how it is that since the 1960s in the last half-century, american politics were transformed by debate over the family. this has been central to how americans think about politics, whether they're on the liberal and left side of the political spectrum, or on the conservative right side of the political spectrum. so one of the things i talk about is how the american family was essential to a liberal politics between the new deal of the 1930s and the 1960s. this is something i call breadwinner liberalism.
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this is the idea that american families required some assistance, some support, social security is perhaps the best example but there are others. and that for a good three or four decades, a critical feature of liberal politics was a commitment to a particular kind of nuclear family. and especially a male breadwinner nuclear family. but what happened is in the 1960s, that liberal commitment went into crisis. it experienced a profound crisis because of the social movement that challenged that essential family from the left side of the political spectrum. so if you think about the civil rights movement, a black power movement, feminism, the various feminism of that area. and eventually make a and lesbian rights movement and other movements that challenge the idea that there really is one male breadwinner model of the american family.
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when liberalism experienced those challenges it went into a prolonged period of political crisis. it said that political historical moment that the conservative movement steps into the breach with liberalism in crisis and proposes a kind of new model of the american family, one that does not require economic support for economic assistance, but one that requires moral protection. and so the book really tells the story of the politicized american family going from the family that needs support economically to one that needs protection morally. that's how i characterized the shift from a liberal political culture to a more conservative political culture. the critical difference between the liberal, the previous, the pre-1960s liberal model of the family and the post-1970s
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conservative model and the family really comes down to as one might expect the role of the state. the role of our collective empowerment through the natural -- national government, the role that plays in our lives. in a liberal model of the family, families require some modicum of basic economic, basic economic security. and the government, the national state and state level government plays an important role in providing the resources to them, providing a social safety net for families and so on. that's part of the liberal model of the family itself. for conservatives, the idea of family that needs not economic protection but rather moral protection, that speaks to a very different role for a government. right, in this model, governments job is to not help support families economically, but rather to prevent them from experiencing or from coming into
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contact with an immoral society. we can take the example of reproductive rights or abortion, perhaps the most critical example. for many conservatives this is simply an immoral process, an immoral act. and governments job should be to prevent it. and that's a legitimate role for government has conservative. the reason the 1960s is so important to this story is it story is a little bit like this. 80 think about the liberal politician, the notable liberal politician of that earlier era of someone like franklin delano roosevelt, john f. kennedy, lyndon johnson, these were political figures who believed in what we now would call the traditional family. they believe in a male breadwinner family, largely a male was largely responsible for supporting the families economically. and so on. that was really still part of
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the liberal idea, and that idea was challenge in the '60s, particularly by feminism and by the gay and lesbian rights movement. but also in some interesting ways by the civil rights and black power movement. who essentially said that model of the family had -- is heterosexual, it's patriarchal, it's white, and so on. it doesn't really represent the full breath of american families in the way that americans actually live their lives. and that was a deep challenge to liberalism itself. it's one of the precipitating event, one of the precipitating forces that creates this crisis in liberalism in the 1960s. it's not by any means the only one but it is a pretty major one. one of the most interesting examples that i use in the book, and i think one of the most critical hinges of this
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transformation that i'd trade is arguments over subsidized childcare in the 1970s. and here we really see a battle between the forces on the liberal left over definitions of the family, and forces of the emerging but really not yet powerful conservative right. this happened in 1971. congress passed a comprehensive child development act, a comprehensive childcare act that provided large subsidies for childcare in the united states. and it was in response to a very strong grassroots political movement that proposed childcare as essential to the lives of working women. congress passed a. it was sent to president nixon's desk for his signature, and it was the first real moment in national politics that we see an eruption of grassroots response on the right. and nixon white house received thousands and thousands of
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letters. that began who was an advisor for nixon in those days understood that the emerging grassroots movement, communicate its message to nixon, and the message was subsidized childcare threatens the traditional model of the family. it threatens the traditional idea of strong mothers and strong motherhood, and the president should veto it. and, in fact, nixon did veto that childcare act in 1971. that's a very interesting moment and it's one that usually doesn't register on our collective memories of that era but it's a critical turning point in politics. another critical hinge of this transformation that "all in the family" track takes place early in the late 1970s. that's when we see the birth of the so-called profamily or family values movement. that movement came most immediately out of the opposition to the equal rights amendment. and the fight of a conservative
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activist, who many people are familiar with and still an activist today in a lot of ways, her opposition to the equal rights amendment in the mid-and late 1970s helped to galvanize a movement that named itself the profamily movement. and that movement which ultimately became the so-called family values movement was critical to the reagan coalition that came together in 1980. the lens of the family actually turns up some startling and surprising discoveries in the street as well. so something like the vietnam war, which we might not ordinarily associate with the politics of the family, i have a whole chapter in "all in the family" about the war, and the way that battles over manhood and responsibilities of men became critical to the way that americans argued about vietnam. and if you think about it, it makes sense. on the one hand, you have conservative americans, or
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americans who saw themselves as deep patriots in the 1970s, and they believe that man's responsibly was to be drafted, going to the military service, to serve their country, to stand when called as it were. but there were other americans who believed that a man's duty was to stand up to what they perceived to be an immoral war, that there was a moral calling for american men to resist the draft, to resist what they saw as an immoral war. so much of the debate over vietnam at the level of the individual family came down to what was a male citizens real responsibility. how does that play out in the political arena. i wrote "all in the family" i think in some ways for two reasons. one is a deeply personal one, and one is a more professional and scholarly want to the deeply personal one is that i am a child of this is a. i'm a child of the 1970s. i came up in the shadow of all of these fights and struggles,
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and in many ways the repercussions of those struggles shaped me growing up and so i had a very intense desire to understand what it was the shaped my own childhood, what shape my parents, that shaped the world in which i grew up. so that's the personal reason. the scholarly and professional reason is that there has been many studies of the 1960s and '70s, and many studies of the 1980s, but these are often treated separately. the '60s has its own kind of cast. it's a period of liberal rebellion are radicalism. the antiwar movement and so. but there are a lot of studies that really tried to tell the whole stories -- story of the 1963 single lens. and the lens of the family works quite well in organizing and helping us to understand the way that american politics has changed since the 1960s. the argument of "all in the family" is unique, but it really builds on the work of a
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generation of historians. and, of course, that's, as a professional historian this is how we produce work. we stand on the shoulders of our colleagues, others colleagues -- colligan and would use their work but we strike out also in new direction. so all -- "all in the family" is based on really a generation of work on the welfare state, on gender and sexuality in the welfare state, and also a generation of work now on conservatism. but "all in the family" takes a lot of that work, add to the original research i spent five years doing, and it strikes and kind of a new organization framework, or provides a new framework for understanding the last 50 years of american politics. the research in the book really extends from the presidential memo to the grassroots manifesto. so i have done research in the presidential archives, the
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presidential libraries of every president since jfk. and i've also done extensive research in the files and documents and collections of grassroots politics. everything from the national organization for women, to the national association of evangelicals, which was a really important evangelical christian organization. so i've done research in over 50 archival collections. i've used about 200 different individual collections to unmask the research for the book. going into the research, if anything surprised me, it was actually the extent to which the family was a central, a central metaphor, a central political icon for liberalism. i think i went into the project expecting that i would find the family to be central to a post-1960s conservative politics. but what surprised me was how
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central the family was to his liberal politics as well. that was something i had not really anticipated. the power and strength and compelling nature of that image of the coming within liberalism in the middle decades of the 20 century. whether we are still in a pattern of political debate about the family i think it's a very interesting question. this past election in 2012 revealed, at least in the republican primary, that the so-called culture wars are still very much present and still have a very compelling grip on at least part of the electorate in the united states. but studies since 2012, the election of 2012, polling that's been done, especially with younger voters, reveals that the culture war issues, the wars over family, over gender, over women's roles, over sexuality, that these have a less compelling grip on that younger generation. that they are not as moved by these questions.
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and so one does have to wonder whether this is something that will recede in the past or whether we will continue to have in our politics these fights every two or three years. if there was one thing that i would urge viewers to take away, or readers to take away from the book, it's the way in which something as elemental to everyone's life as the family, and the way we organize ourselves in terms of family. that this can actually be a really critical lens for understanding much deeper and broader political trends and political turmoil. so that if we use the family as a kind of historical lands and focus on the period from the 1960s to the present, the last half-century or so, that lens can tell us a lot about how we as a country move from a relatively political heir to a much more conservative political air. now whether that is changing, we
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are here in the shadow of the 2012 election, we don't know yet. i think it's still too early to tell. but certainly the last generation or two of american politics has been dominated by a more conservative orientation of the whole political coach or. and i think using the family, something that we're all familiar with and comfortable with as a lens can really tell us a lot about that transformation. >> as one of the first cities established in the united states, providence, rhode island, has a nearly 400 year history. integral to the development of the country. at the site of the first budget of the american revolution through economic devastation during the great depression, and eventually coverage in the investment of public funds to robbins is rich in historical and other sources and maternal. >> my name is c. morgan grefe on the executive track of the rhode island a circle society. and right now we hear of in the
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stack of the library on the east side of providence. today we have an assortment of books from our selection we both have both a local and national significance for you. the first few books i want to start with today are actually related to roger williams, probably the most famous founder of rhode island. there were more than one colony of rhode island so roger wins gets the most attention and these books are some of the reason why. the first book we're going to look at today is called the key into the language of america. and it was published in 1643. it's in an original binding so it is kept in this case. it was the first ever dictiona dictionary. of an indian language in engla england. this is an original. these are abundant and prince. these are not printed in the colony of rhode island.
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so this became an amazingly important book. not just in the 17th century where it does show in fact his claim on the land that becomes rhode island the it shows the relationship and the closeness he has worked with the natives of rhode island. but it also is used to the 17th, 18th, 19th and into the 20th centuries as one of the only dictionaries, and the language of algonquin people. so really is an amazing work that retained its significance well into the 20th century. this book was incredibly well known and well used, and it wasn't a book of much controversy. unlike his next book which will be looking at, which was just one year later published in 1644 without his name or the name of the printer on this book. and this book is in a new binding so we can handle it a little more. and it is the famous bloody
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tenement persecution. this is really where we see roger williams talking about the idea of liberty and the freedom of religion. he is very much showing at this point why he is different and why his thinking is different and why rhode island is different from massachusetts, and the other colonies to the north. he was creating a land where people could come, could worship as they chose, and would always be protected by the civil law. roger williams, while he was a member of the clergy, was also incredible trained and learned in civil law and actually worked for circle in the british parliament. and we see a lot of his ideas of civil law in preparation of church and state. articulated in text like this but this did not of course sit well with england or with massachusetts.
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by an actor british parliament, all of the copies of this book were set to be burned. likely not all of them were. this copy was not an we're able to show that the people today. this didn't go unnoticed by people here in the colony. this next book has a contemporary binding, was a response to "the bloody tenent." the response, "the bloody tenent" made white in the blood of the land is response high cotton. it comes just a couple years later, and a few years after that in the roger williams applies to them and cotton replies can. so over the span of about 10 years, you see the back and forth battle of words as these men discuss the deepest of philosophical ideas that can become really in many ways -- some people argued the founding of the first amendment of the united states. it is here where we see that separation of church and state articulated and argued over the course of a decade. argument one of the most important things that roger williams really does bring to the sake -- to this colony is
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the idea of true liberty of conscience. historians have argued that this has not just an effect on the first amendment come on declaration, on the constitution, but even an effect on the economy of rhode island and how it developed because a welcome immigrants and migrants from all over the colonies and all over the world saying to them, we don't care where you are from, we don't care what you worship, you will be welcomed here to do work and be protected by the law. and this means that people came here who are open to speculating in ideas and speculating in businesses. in fact, one man, john hammett, becomes a quaker to 1727, he publishes this small volume as a response. the vindication in relation to and it's his own account of his conversion process.
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liberty and colleges shouldn't be confused with the fact that roger will use -- he certainly did not. he had a heated debate with quakers in particular about what they were thinking. this was 1727, roger williams has passed. but what it meant was he to disagree with quakers. he could protect what he thought they played. but he had no right in keeping them from practicing that faith. an example of how you can migrate from one phase to the next and no one understood that more than roger williams. one of the more important things to us, in history of books in rhode island, is that this is published in 1727. the first year that printing is being done in rhode island. and it's printed here and sold by james franklin of newport. james franco is the older brother of ben franklin, and it was through his brother james that ben franklin was an apprentice and learned the printing trade.
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this was one of three books that survived from the 1727 printing and the only copy i believe that exists of john hammett's relation. as we move forward, we go into some of the more cultural aspects of rhode island history in the 18th century, and something i find utterly do quite well, one of the other sites we have at the rhode island historical society is the museum. we know that john brown's daughter was married in 1788, and web diary accounts of thing she did. what we have here in our printed collection conditions the deep and collection, the first printing, the only surviving copy we know of earliest collection of country dances and cotillion's. it is a wonderful account of the dances that were being done, the newest and most traditional of the pleasure of love, the
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pleasure of providence, the new russian dance, all of these wonderful dances that we know and can imagine the men and women of providence in 1788 doing. and is one of the strings i think of the historical society's collections in general is they are not just repositories of the works of a luminary than great thinkers. but they really are places people can find the cultural history and find out more about the daily lives of everyday people and how they would have been expressing themselves, whether in word, dance, in music or in film in the 20th century. and the questions he -- collections are have all the. the next piece we have harkens back to the even though it's a later period, 1806. many people might know that rhode island actually what had the first synagogue in north america. located in newport. so we have a very active jewish community in rhode island from
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the 18th century on. and it becomes significant throughout the state economy, and its political life. what we have here, again an original binding, is the first printed jewish calendar. in north america. it shows, it is a lunar calendar, and it shows off a festival days, for a period of decades. and was really beautiful things about it is there are notes in hebrew throughout this. what we have before us now is a photo album, a scrapbook from a rhode islander who americans now probably do better than roger millions to he never did anything spectacular as williams
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or starks or nathaniel greene, but he was in and went to the civil war. he kept an amazing diary and record. and he was discovered by m. burns, andy became the model for billy in the ken burns civil war said. so we're fortunate enough to have the collection from the phone. this is one of the wonderful scrapbooks that we have. after he left the war, he would over in civil service. he became active in the grand army of the republic. he wasn't active freemason, and he stayed engaged with the troops and with the war as an adjutant general, but he has these wonderful books and this is a portable, if you will, of other major generals, frank wheaton, lieutenant general
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philip sheridan, and really just an absolutely lovely collection. here he is as brigadier general, and that sort of how i think of him the most come into whether we envision them. he goes out as a young man and has calamitous series of getting shot by the bullet gets stuck in his bible at all these wonderful stories and making very real to us. he becomes engaged and his romance with his fiancée and is copyrighted from folks like us as was then the artifacts that we have, such as the wrist warmers she needs to him and sent off to him while he was at war. and in the midst of this wonderful collection of photos, we have his horse. and this amazing place of honor with all these major generals we have kate, and he was never, had a place of honor for the soldiers of the civil war without recognizing the incredible role that his horse played in that.
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and the last thing we're going to look at in this collection, it's a wonderful example of jewelry. rhode island is an industrial capital in the 19th century, and into the 20 century. right up until about the middle of the century it's probably best known for its textile industry, but, in fact, by the turn-of-the-century rhode island is the jewelry capital of america. out of nowhere better to learn then -- and ash design, adequate to turn into a wonderful jewelry design department. and what we have here is a book written by one of the teachers at the rhode island school of design. you can see this as his textbook, jewelry making and decided he comes out with while he was running the department there. he had been working for years, and making tools related to the jewelry trade. so for center in his life he is making and balls and is making
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to have your tools. we can see the real art that's going on in jewelry, design and jewelry manufacturing area. as we see beautiful pieces from 1905 to the early part of the 20th century, that show the influence, show the maritime influence in rhode island, and really illustrate very well defined custom chip and find detailed of manufacturing that we could see in providence at the turn of the 20th century. he is again a prominent figure, manufactured and designed a summit of prominent individuals in rhode island at the time. he again is an active freemason, and begins a family in rhode island and stacy and really helps to shape the beautiful jewelry making that became so important throughout the 20 century in rhode island. each one of these pieces tells an amazing story to again, our national history.
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we have the beginning and founding stories that help us understand ideologies with which our nation was shaped. that set us apart from other countries. and as we struggle i think you understand our place as we move forward, it's helpful to reflect back on what the real grounding principles actually work rather than exaggerated or misunderstood versions of the founders intended and i think roger williams represents a departure from the normal story, and shows that even a small colony had a great impact on the way the rest of the nation and the world thought works by john brittain his recent book on the great american souls and roger williams. being able to become -- to come to a repository like this to see the collection, she the writings of roger williams, he was able to learn what others are learning about roger williams. he wrote important works and
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there's very little little evidence that thomas jefferson was reading roger williams, but he was then able to go to the library, and archives in england as aei documents and had library records and they had, i think you can see their that john locke was reading roger williams. and as thomas jefferson was reading locke, we see these ideas are transit line. we are moving all over the world well before we think today. these of the book show was how people were living, how they were interacting with each oth other. they also show us how we shaped our economy. as we again struck with how we we define ourselves to new economies, to new political structures throughout the world. we can come to places like this and we can understand how a community could redefine itself and take advantage of opportunities that might not have existed before. and what i love so much about libraries and about history and about research is, five people
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to look at the same book and walk away with five completely different stories and interpretations, seeing what is important to them and making it into something that is relevant for an unimaginable number of communities. so we might say that history is a set of facts but history is an interpretation. and libraries are the places where people can come and commerce themselves into. and i believe deeply in the importance of digital repositories as well. it allows greater access to it allows people to zoom into things that they would never be able to see so closely before. but i believe there is truly something and amazing and magical about a person -- personal communion, as we hold a book. as we hold in our hands the lifework, the photo album that was put together as remembers
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the civil war. i think it transports us and it's the closest thing to a time machine that i've ever found. so i find it an absolutely delightful opportunity to be able to be immersed in the world of history, and that's what you can to add a library like this. >> and now from booktv's recent visit to providence, rhode island, often approach a prize-winning journalist michael stanton talks about his book, "the prince of providence: the rise and fall of buddy cianci, america's most notorious mayor." >> the prince of providence as a store of trying to was our longest serving mayor in rhode island history and one of the most colorful does you'll find anywhere in the country. he was part huey long, part tony soprano. he was this lovable rogue who helped transform the dying city of providence into the city that was rated one of america's most livable by number of publications. and he also presided over
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corruption over three different decades that ultimate landed him in federal prison. and he's a very colorful character. i call him america's longest -- he would be flying about the city in a chauffeur driven limousine with a check -- he would have a cup of vodka in one hand and a cigarette in the other hand, and the keys to the city in the top of the car. he was really to me when i set out to write a book about him, he was very to me the embodiment of american politics. and he reflected providence, which is one of america's oldest cities, to me really embodies the american political story. he grew up in 10 of a privileged background, he's an italian-american. he grew up in a silverlake neighborhood of providence, an old italian on click, and he
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went to moses brown, kind of a lofty private school on the east side near brown university. he became a lawyer. he became a prosecutor, prosecuted mobsters. he became a republican in a democratic irish city, and then he ran for mayor in the 1970s, 1974. and he basically upset the providence democratic machine, and he became this italian-american republican mayor in the '70s, and he attracted the attention of the white house at the time, gerald ford was president. and gerry ford was very taken with him and he saw him as a way to kind of embodied what the republicans were trying to capture, if those figures when democratic. and buddy had a featured role speaking at the 1976 democratic national convention. he was a kind who is he is going places. he was very glib, very articulate. he was a champion of cities of urban renewal.
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and some people audaciously even said he could be a potential vice presidential candidate, please go to the u.s. senate where he could have a very long and successful career. but in some problems ensued. of course gerald ford lost the election. and he went on to become mayor, a mayor of corruption. it was a national investigation in the 1980s. he had characters like buckles and blackjack and bobo who are running around the city public works department stealing manhole covers, stealing city asphalt, cutting all kinds of crooked deals, selling city trucks to private owners. and that sort of thing. then there was massive corruption. several of those people on bud buddy's administration went to prison to they never got to buddy because his top aides never batted him out. went to prison instead can sell. but buddy was caught up in it personal marital dispute. he went to a nasty divorce.
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he basically -- invited them into his house one night, and with city police bodyguards held the man prisoner personal hours, tortured him with a lit cigarette, tried to hit him with a fireplace log. through an ashtray at him at one point, and ultimately try to assault in the episode, and that forced his resignation in 1984. .. >> rivers were being moved,
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concrete that smothererred them was being ripped up. as you see now, the water fire display on the rivers and the beauty of the architecture, and buddy was a champion of that. and as providence became a really hot city, he payment a really hot -- he became a really hot mayor. but then just as he was celebrating becoming the longest-serving mayor in providence history, the corruption reared its head again, and the fbi found this local businessman who agreed to go undercover into city hall. he wore a wire, had a hidden camera in the handle of his briefcase, and he taped various aides to buddy including his top aide taking bribes at city hall for city contracts and other favors. and this became known as a federal fbi case called operation plunderdome. and he fled this investigation and ultimately, it resulted in buddy's conviction.
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after an epic two month trial in a city where people said you'll never get people to convict buddy in a city where buddy went to prison with 67% of the voters still thinking he had done a good job even though he was guilty. and when buddy was sentenced by the judge, the judge talked about how he was dr. jekyll and mr. hyde. and buddy, in his own way said, well, you know, privately to a friend later how come i can't get two f-ing paychecks? what buddy was convicted of was racketeering conspiracy, kind of knowing about it but not actually being physically involved in any of of the underlying acts. and buddy kind of framed it as what did i do? i was convicted of being the mayor. some of the jurors i spoke to saw otherwise, that he was a guy who knew how to keep himself insulated kind of like a mob boss that he had once prosecuted, ironically. and that he was able to stay out of the direct line, but that he
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knew everything that was going on. he was the kind of guy, one juror told me, who would know how many rolls of toilet paper there were in city hall. now, later, buddy said that was part of his myth and his aura, that he kind of conveyed that fear in people that he knew everything, but he didn't. ultimately, it didn't play out with the jury, didn't play out on appeal, and he went to prison and relinquished his famous toupee -- or what he called his dead squirrel -- and he did his time, and e came out and went on talk radio where he's on a local radio station. but it's interesting, providence has changed a lot, and i think he went from being a really relevant political figure to being more like the quaint uncle who you kind of have around at holidays. but most of the people in providence who live here, when he got out of prison, didn't live here when he went to prison. which says something about the remarkable transformation of the city. there's a lot more latino
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voters, we have a strong gay population, and the city's really changed. and his succession, the mayor that followed him, was the first openly-of gay mayor of a large american city, david sis runny -- cicilline, who's now in congress, and the mayor who followed him is the city's first hispanic mayor, and reflecting that growing population. buddy cianci, i compare him to hugh -- huey long in the sense that they were both incredibly charismatic figures, they were both politicians who were beloved in spite of their flaws, in spite of the corruption that went on in their administrations, who had a real populist, evangelical fervor about them that spoke to the ability to be successful on a larger stage. you know, huey long was seen as a potential presidential candidate. buddy, as audacious as it seems being from such a small city, um, was actually seen as
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somebody that could be a national figure in washington. and in one of his pivotal moments of his career in the 1970s, he was in his first term as mayor, there was a u.s. senate seat that had opened up in rhode island, and he thought about whether he should run or not. and he wound up, ultimately, being outmaneuvered by john chafee who went on to a legendary senate career. and a lot of people feel that was a real turning point for buddy, because if he had gotten out of of providence then, he would have gotten out of the place that breeds corruption and, ultimately, dragged him down. not to excuse his culpability, and gone to washington where you can be a showman, you can be on the national stage. remember, he spoke at the republican national convention in 1976 and again in 1980. he actually went out, it was funny, before the 1980 election, he went out and met with ronald reagan, and he pitched himself as a potential running mate for reagan. and while he was out there, he went to palm springs, and he visited gerry ford who had been
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good friends with him when he was president. and when he was there, he also got invited to have dinner at frank sinatra's house. so he's having dinner at frank sinatra's house, and as he tells the story, um, you know, he sees a picture of the patriarch behind the bar, and, you know, the bender says, oh, buddy, you're from providence, how's raymond doing? so there was those bizarre cross-currents in buddy's life and the people he would encounter. buddy and i had kind of an interesting relationship as i wrote this book. because the one thing about buddy that -- the two things that really matter to him are power and control. and, of course, money. and he didn't have the control over this book, and he didn't get the money, and he couldn't control his legacy, and he didn't like some of the negative things that i found about him. but i tried to be fair to him, because there are two sides to the coin, and that's what makes him so compelling. but buddy always wanted to write his own book, and he later did a
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few years ago called "politics and pasta." he used to always kid me, i'm going to write my own memoirs, and i'm not going to talk to you about my inside stories and, you know, how are you going to write a -- i remember he called me into his office a month before he went to prison. he'd been convicted, he was awaiting sentencing, it was his final days in office, and it was a summer afternoon, quiet. and as we're skiting in his -- sitting in his office, he starts to say, hey, how about you revoke your contract with random house, we write your book together. i'll get you an immediate six-figure advance. how much are you getting? i said, well, i'm not getting that much, but i'm getting enough to make it fair, and it's really about more than money to me, it's about telling a good story. and buddy looked at me, and he says why isn't it just about money? how could you sell yourself so cheap? and at that point a thunderstorm started to sort of play out over city hall, and there was a loud crash of thunder, and buddy said, you know, telling -- writing this book with without me and my inside stories, it's
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kind of like the thunder without the lightning. this book, i think, says that american politics is a blood sport, that it's very entertaining. buddy cianci had a saying. when he was first elected mayor, he was the republican candidate. he was championed by kind of the upper crust liberal set that lived up on the east side of providence around brown university. and they were the elites, they were the people that didn't need things from city hall. they weren't looking for patronage or contracts, and they were looking for good government. and, you know, buddy had a cynical saying even though he was their champion when he first was elected, he had a saying good government will only get you good government. when you come down from, you know, college hill and you cross the providence river, you know, you have to cut deals, and you have to do things like that to get things done. and when he came in as mayor the first time, remember, he was a republican in a city that hadn't elected a republican since the great depression. he was the first
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italian-american mayor in a city that had been ruled by irish democrats for decades, and he had a city council that was committed to his destruction just like the republican congress was committed to barack obama's downfall in his first term. and he had to work with those guys, and he did work with them, and he also machiavellian maneuvers that he had, he outlasted them. and he outmaneuvered them. there was this -- they refused to, um, confirm any of his appointments, and then there was the famous massacre, they called it, where the city council had a meeting, and they didn't have a quorum because there were three members who had been arrested, indicted or convicted of various crimes such as insurance fraud and fixing races at a local track. so buddy used that to kind of engineer a coup in which he took over the city council. and the l.a. times came to town and did a feature about him. and he said that in the general population felons are something
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like 1 in 10,000 on the city council, it was 1 in 8. he had charisma, he could walk into a room, and if there were 100 people there and one that hated him, he would go to that one person. he would go to the opening of an envelope. i remember being a young reporter at the providence journal -- not covering buddy at the time, not covering city hall -- and i was at another reporter's backyard cookout in the summer, and we were sitting around in the backyard, modest house, drinking beer, and buddy pulls up in his limousine, and he shows up at the party. he was there for hours. he was one of the last persons to leave. and so that kind of charm, and he was a champion of city of providence. the city was a down downtrodden city. he would, you know, go on national tv, he would go on the don imus show when it was really
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popular, and he would sing the city's praises. and people loved him for that. they figured, you know, we've always had corruption, it predates buddy, it will postdate him, but at least he made us feel good about ourselves, at least he, you know, helped put providence back on the map. so that's why people loved him. >> providence was founded in june 1636 by prominent baptist preacher roger williams who was forced to flee massachusetts because of religious persecution. it was one of the original 13 colonies of the united states and has a rich literary culture steeped in history. with the help of our local cable partner, cox communications, booktv brings you interviews and tours of the area all weekend long from our recent visit. >> i'm michael chandley, i'm proprietor of cellar stories book tore here in -- bookstore here in providence, rhode
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island. we are the largest used and rare bookstore that you will find. it is the greatest job in the world. it's just the never knowing what you're going to see, what kind of books will come into the store, what people will come into the store. we have had famous authors come into the store shopping, we've had people that are performing in rhode island or massachusetts come into the store. it's exciting to not know what's going to happen every day. and to be surrounded by all these great books, it's just a wonderful environment. a friend and i kind of had a romantic idea about starting a used bookstore. we both had english degrees and used to go around to different bookstores and thought it would be neat to open one. and we did and quickly found that we didn't know anything about business or the book business. and he dropped out and pursued other quests, and i kind of stuck with it.
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at that time there was a magazine called the antiquarian bookmen's weekly, and people -- the first 25 or 30 pages were articles about the book trade, and the rest of the magazine were lists of books for sale, and in the back of the magazine books that people wanted. so that was pretty much how i learned about the book business, going through that magazine every week and quoting books to other dealers and reading the articles. we started in '81 in the basement of a building up the street and, hence, that was the name, cellar stories, because we began in the basement of -- while we have a little bit of everything, we also have in-depth collections of rhode island history, we have a lot of math books, we have art and
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architecture, modern first editions and poetry. those are probably the things that we're strongest in. the sale of books does follow popular culture pretty much. however, in this literature section has always been the best selling section in the store, and that's kind of heartening that people are always reading that kind of thing. providence always has been a wonderful place for used books just because it's one of the oldest colonies. so there are vast collections of books in providence, and we've been able to tap into that over the years and buy collections from some of the oldest families in rhode island. and we just have a wide breadth of books that most stores don't have just because of our geographic allocation. we get collectors coming in from all over the country.
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providence was the renaissance city, so tourism in providence has really picked up over the last 10 or 15 years, and we do get an awful lot of tourists coming in, people who use their vacations to go looking for books in different cities. and that's been a real boost to the store. we've, we have a two-volume first edition of madame bovary published in french. that's relatively scarce. it's -- there aren't too many of those surviving. and once i got a call from a person in providence who was, who got a donation. he was running some kind of outreach program, and it was a donation of books. and about eight or ten of them had been signed by ernest
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hemingway and that was a really great find. there were other books in there signed by barnaby conrad who was an author that wrote about bullfights, so it was related to hemingway who was also a officionado of bullfights. and there was a book signed by john steinbeck. it was just a great catch. when we get something like that, it either -- collectors or other dealers are quick to come in and make purchases. we started out as a pretty small store and slowly grew over the years and have been able to adapt to the changes in the book trade which have been pretty substantial with the introduction of the internet and changes in people's book-buying habits. the people coming into the store was the dominant driving force
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for sales that we did some mail order, but it was pretty small. once the internet started, especially amazon, that kind of changed people's buying habits. so we saw a reduction of people coming into the store, walk-in traffic, and an increase in mail order traffic, in people ordering over the phone, ordering by mail and especially ordering over the internet. it's affected us in a couple of ways. one is that it's kind of driven down prices for average books, for run-of-the-mill books. even some of the books that were priced slightly higher, people thought they were fairly scarce because you could go into five or ten stores and not find a copy of the book.
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but then when you look on the internet, they're really readily available. so the price has gone down for a lot of things. on the other hand, we've been able -- it used to be that if we bought a book about a city in oklahoma, we would really have to wait until someone from oklahoma came in and was interested in that book. but now with the internet we can list that book, and someone in oklahoma finds the listing, and we sell the book pretty readily. with publishers producing fewer books every year now, um, if they don't patronize stores like this, independent stores, they're going to find that there aren't going to be books around. there's already a decrease in the number of books that are available because of e-books, of textbooks being put online instead of being produced. so there will definitely be a decrease in the number of books available, and if stores like
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this don't survive, then there won't be books readily available for the public. as the book business continues to change, i'd like to just be able to persevere and stay here for the indefinite future. >> author james morone is next from providence, rhode island. he details the health of u.s. presidents while in office and how it impacts their decisions on health care issues. his book is "heart of power: health and politics in the oval office." >> in the 1930s, beginning around 1935, franklin roosevelt's staff began to beg him to put national health insurance into law. they had the social security package going through congress, and roosevelt decided health care would destroy the entire social security bill. so he said, no, took it out. but for the rest of his
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administration, his staff is, please, please, please, let's make national health insurance part of social security. social security was becoming very popular. roosevelt was becoming a huge, a colossus in american politics. and in 1943 -- right in the middle of world war ii -- he decides i'm going to do it. world war ii, the tide has turned. he's going to win the war. he's going to come home at the end of the war, bring the troops back, and he's decided i need another crusade. and that's going to be national health insurance. he takes his most trusted adviser, and he says, sam, write me a bill. and more important, write me a way to win this thing through congress. crowd goes off, writes a national health insurance package. there's one great memo in the archives in which someone says health care is the most bore withing subject i have ever -- most boring subject i've ever encountered. i had a good laugh about it. it comes back, this whole package, and just as it arrives
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on his desk, roosevelt dies suddenly in april of 1945. this new guy no one knows anything about, harry truman, takes over, and here comes this package really from roosevelt's grave, national health insurance. truman grabs it, and he makes it the cause of his life. no one knew if he was even going to like it, but it becomes his crusade. truman fails to win national health insurance, but this idea, national health insurance, passes from every president to president. no president liberal, moderate or conservative ever has been able to duck the national health insurance issue. every time a ferocious debate; this is socialism, this is terrible, this will destroy america on the one hand, this is something that all citizens deserve on the other. knowing this history really puts the obama administration's success in the an extraordinary light. everybody tried it, everybody
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failed. to some extent or another, there have been some successes -- mainly from republicans. there have been some successes, but this was really an extraordinary achievement. and our book kind of gives the story of each president and how they tried to win national health insurance. we had a hypothesis, as we say in the social sciences. we had a hypothesis. health care is the one area that all presidents know. they tend to be a very sickly bunch. president by president, you'd be surprised how many health care problems they had. john f. kennedy got the last rites of the catholic church four times as an adult. one scene, his father weeping by his hospital bed as the priest performs the last rites of the church. this is just a few years before he runs for president. so our hypothesis, these are men who understand health and illnesses. by the way, they're so sickly because secrecy is more important than good health care. so they are, they don't get very
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good health care, at least that's been true in the past. and so we thought these guys know health care. of course they're going to be sensitive to health care issues. wrong, wrong, wrong. never was a hypothesis more thoroughly refuted. they're tough guys. so kennedy may be sickly, but he wants to give the impression of health, and their health care doesn't matter to them at all. what does matter, it's interesting, the health of the people they love. every president while in office confronts the illnesses of -- well, take kennedy's case, his father has a stroke. health care goes from being something, eh, i could take it or leave it, to something he is obsessed with. he won't stop talking about it. so that it goes on his daily briefing from number 37 right up to number 4 or 5. and in talk after talk and speech after speech he describes his father's health problems and says i don't know how -- he's a wealthy man. i couldn't afford all the care he's getting, and i don't know how an ordinary person could.
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and all of a sudden medicare, the program to pay for health care for people over 65 which is being debated at that moment, becomes from a sort of side show in the kennedy administration to kennedy's obsession. this has been true president after president. someone they love gets sick. in eisenhower, conservative old mr. eisenhower, mamie, his wife's mother, has a health episode, serious health episode. all of a sudden ike is mr. health care. he decides to have a year of health care. this is a guy who didn't even think he should submit a budget to congress, because congress should be the budget authority. now all of a sudden he has a year of health care. he discovers health care in part because his mother-in-law gets sick. so that's one thing driving these presidents. but there's another thing. health care's problematic. it's -- people get sick, and the problems of health care, costs,
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access to health insurance, america's health in general, this is a problem that presidents can't avoid. so they're driven by personal reasons because people they love get sick, and they're driven just because it's a problem that won't, won't go away. it's an issue -- boring, complicated, convoluted -- but at the end of the day, presidents can't avoid it. the way we did this book, we went to every presidential archive, and we studied all the memos that were written and so forth. and we discovered lots of unexpected things. but our favorite story is the lyndon b. johnson story. so when we went to those archives, there were tapes. remember the tapes that got nixon into so much trouble? well, johnson had those same tapes going, but they kept them hidden. they didn't release them to the public until two or three years ago, and our book was one of the first ones that had access to these tapes. now, lyndon johnson famously was president when medicare passed in 1965.
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and the normal story that johnson himself tells in his autobiography goes like this: representative wilbur mills was fighting, was resisting medicare. he stopped it single handedly and as chair of the ways and means committee, he could do that. then after the 1964 election which was a land slide for the democrats, wilbur mills is sitting there the last day of the markup of the bill. there are three bills before the committee; the administration proposal which just covered hospital care, the ama proposal which just covered doctors' care -- your hospital care wasn't going to be covered -- and another proposal which suggested let's not cover all people over 65, let's just cover poor people. wilbur mills, the great antagonist of medicare, sits back and says, you know what? let's pass all three. the johnson administration officials were in the room at the time, today panic.
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what is wilbur mills up to? they go running to -- by the way, wilbur mills says could you rewrite the bill and have it on my desk at 9:00 tomorrow morning? they ask for an extension, no, 9:00 tomorrow morning. they expect johnson to say, oh, i don't know what wilbur mills is up -- instead he says i think i'll go call my brother. i'll go call my brother. what are you talking about, mr. president? now, this is a story that is in johnson's autobiography, "the vantage point." johnson says you don't know that story? every texan knows that story. turns out there's a young boy who wants to be a switchman for the railroad, and they give him a test, they tell him here's the switch, train going north 30 miles an hour, train going south 30 miles an hour. here's the switch, what do you do, son? and the boy looks up, and today today -- and he says i'll go call my brother. why are you going to call my brother?
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he ain't never seen no train wreck before. and so johnson then says wilbur mills went from the goat to the hero for the old folk. he did something no one expected. that's the usual story of medicare. johnson delighted at the seedlines, then we go to the tapes. what do the tapes say? as soon as johnson takes over, he calls wilbur right away, and we've got this on tape. wilbur, i need medicare. i need it bad. wilbur, you've got to pass medicare for me. wilbur mills says, mr. president, i've been fighting medicare all my life. i can't just turn around. and johnson says, wilbur, make it bigger. say it wasn't good enough for you. wilbur, you'll get all the credit. wilbur, this could make you vice president. now, this is in five or six different tapes that we've heard, what i've just -- the quotes i've just given you. so there are dot, dot, dots between them, but johnson is relentless. he's the one who suggests, put
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these different programs together. and wilbur first resists, and then he thinks about it, and then he tries to back stab johnson, but at the end of the day, they make a deal. at one point wilbur mills is walking on the floor of johnson, johnson hears wilbur's voice, and he says, who's that, is that wilbur? put wilbur on. and complete breach of protocol, they put wilbur on the phone, and johnson goes, i hope you're down there trying to get that mills bill through. that's what he was calling medicare. what's remarkable is this bill passes in march of 1965, and not til 2008 do we discover that lyndon johnson was in on the secret. he managed to give all the credit to wilbur mills, and though wilbur sometimes said, he sometimes admitted to interviewers without lyndon this would have never passed, nevertheless, johnson was in on it from the very start, and here's the lesson. he gave mills all the credit.
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he didn't need the credit. he helped negotiate this extraordinary bill. medicare is now three times the size it would have been. we now call medicare part a the original bill, medicare part b was what physician services are under, and medicaid -- that was the third part -- we've got all of those because lyndon johnson made this deal with wilbur mills and then gave wilbur mills all the credit. so we really in this book rewrite the story, rewrite the story of medicare. we try to put a lot of this in the book, how the politics feels, how you get a gun. at the end of the book, we draw a series of lessons, so we take each president, and we talk about the politics of of them getting health care. and then at the end we have a final chapter, and we say here are the lessons across all the presidencies. again, from roosevelt to george w. bush. ..
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that agenda will dominate washington. after months number seven, about july of your first year of what is everyone's talking about? the midterm elections. everyone running for the midterm. all that capital you gained, it's gone. some presidents get this.
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johnson got it, george of the bush got it. he was very, very shrewd about cramming things through. we believe barack obama got it partially because he has -- we have reason to believe he or his advisers read this book and got moved quickly. so i imagine there was some feeling in the demonstration to put health care off until things have settled down little bit. the point man for health care had a tax problem. he was suddenly no longer part of the administration team. a lot of people said, is figure refers year, let's put this off. some of the people in the room knew, put off and then never passes. the mets have it put off to the point where bill clinton put health care on the congressional hopper. that would be the first month of the second year in the january of 2010. what happens? stop brown was a special
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election. health care would never have passed. lesson number one to move past -- move fast. when the loose. often you lose the case, but what you do with the loss? example, harry truman loses health care. he fights like man that gets nowhere. he was terrible of working with congress, but he kept fighting. he kept saying that the republicans, the do-nothing republicans have done a terrible thing for the american people. he wrote letters, so much so that when lyndon johnson passes medicare, a shortened version of the health insurance, national health insurance that german wanted for people over 65, he said we would not be here today if not for harry truman. were going to fly out to independents, missouri and sign this bill in front of perry. his staff said, wait a minute.
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errol loafing socialized medicine because that is what the republicans call determined of. you know what to do that. johnson says, were doing it. they fly out. medicare is signed in front of an 82-year-old harry truman did in says, if you're a liberal, this is the highest moment of the second half of the 20th-century. lyndon johnson cover the great liberal icon at the moment until he gets mixed up in vietnam turned and says, mr. president, only you can know how that i feel as i sign this bill. barry says this is the happiest moment of my life. london hansberry and medicaid card number one. even as it may, these tune in bond.
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perry's five, he lot fought and fought and fought, that fight made it possible for medicare pass . learn how to lose. when it never occurred to us that another lesson might have been to learn how to win. the obama administration passes health reform but the forget the german lesson. they let the enemies of the legislature in the final legislature cannot define the bill. we know that almost every piece of the bill is very popular, but people don't know every piece of the bill. you asked in committee want to stop pre-existing condition clauses and health insurance. oh, yakima 60, 70, 80%. t like obamacare? oh, no. and our argument is health care
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is so complicated you have to explain it in simple terms the public understands. president to fail to do that get punished. the huge anomaly of the obama administration is that they got it through congress, when the legislation, but it failed to explain it in terms people understand. they ended up getting away with it, but it's at a very high cost of the legislation itself. still baffling about it and its implementation. learn how loose. and really that lesson is, explain it to the public because it's too complicated for them to understand details. explain it in terms they understand. ironically the obama administration failed to do that. truman did magnificently. you know who ousted a good job? torched w. bush. he had a medicare expansion. it was the largest one in history. arguably the most conservative president in the second half
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from the 20th-century. ron reagan and george bush. both of them passed huge medicare expansions. both of them were really good at explaining and nice, simple terms. reagan passed catastrophic medicare expansion. he goes out there and says, we have to worry about people going brunt -- broke. the republicans hated and your letter congress repeals is, but reagan got it through and explain, nice, simple terms. legislation was so convoluted and it kept collapsing. again, bush got out there and said, prescription drugs to expensive. are going to expand the pool. the details of the bill were helles the complicated, but bush didn't go into the details. they criticized him for being simplistic, but a nice simple explanation was all useful. today republicans hate this
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expansion. the democrats fought against it. but that's the sign of a very successful operator, someone who can manage to get republicans and democrats, not democrats with republicans to pass it and explain it to the public in nice, simple terms. no democrat wants to appeal this thing, and it's never going to be repealed to my would predict. a successful president to move quickly, explained it in nice, simple terms, and he worked with both sides of the aisle. three lessons for getting things through congress. let me tell you one other thing that's important. passion. this may seem obvious, but presidents can go in health care sort of try to pass it or with gusto. the gusto people, chairman, kennedy, johnson, obama, w. bush, those presidents were successful because the cain and it and gave everything to.
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there are other presidents, jimmy carter, george bush the first, george herbert walker bush, eisenhower, these are presidency while it pursued health care did not understand it, it's not the like it, kind of pushed it halfheartedly and got slaughtered every time. this is too complicated and too big to do halfheartedly. a lesson for national health care, it's a lesson for any major achievements. copay go home. if you go small, if you're not passionate going to fail and fall flat in the face. one thing we did not expect to find was republicans by and large are more successful than democrats. innocents it's mixing going to china so when republicans take office everybody assumes are going to go through a time of health care drought. richard nixon comes in in 1968.
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he is a very conservative politician for much of his life. he made his name in the webs cares as a kind of minor league senator mccarthy. right away he begins to think about how we can read the national health insurance. he comes up with a very creative thinking about national health insurance. he's the first one the sake of people with private insurance aren't going to want to give up their private insurance. let's keep that and make national health insurance around private health-insurance. he's the first one to think, competition might be really useful. let's see if we can work in hmos and what we now call managed-care organizations. he put together quite complicated but very sophisticated health insurance package. who is the first president to get national health insurance through committee in congress to enact a ways and means committee
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. richard nixon gets it through by one of. he gets it through. all future national health insurance proposals are dollars or granddaughters of richard nixon's proposal. he does not win, but we had an amazing alliance trying to get national health insurance through. ronald reagan comes to power. the great antagonistic medicare. a famous recording the confine nine youtube fighting against medicare. if this program passes we will tell our children and our children's children what it was like in america when men were free.
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we have to pass catastrophic care for the old people. i hope i can do something for the working stiff to. ronald reagan. receding in the are covered in his diary. what is going on. sure enough republicans in the administration 88 via the of expanding medicare to cover catastrophic cost. in fact, in the cabinet meeting one cabinet officer votes for him. as soon as bush takes over tim he says were going to cut this. haft and granted in half republican, but notice it was ronald reagan had the largest expansion of medicare up to that point in history. and who is the next largest? it's george w. bush. this guy that liberals love to hate. his staff also the same story. he decided he won an expansion of medicare to cover drugs.
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he had crackerjack meetings. apparently, if you were ten seconds late there are very graphic descriptions of what he did to people, and it was not nice. and he just to meet read the memos, was incredibly well-organized, knew what he wanted. george bush that emerges from these interviews the tweeted completely surprised this. and to a person, including staff , democratic staff in congress they said, the sky really was focused. he knew what he won and he got it. here are three examples. nixon, reagan, bush at least by the standards of the day to my dad did these massive expansions of medicare or national health insurance. the lesson, republicans have been surprisingly successful at getting health care. obama broke the strength.
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first successful democrat getting a big major health care program for since 1965. there's one other story this very important. when harry truman proposes national health insurance, the leader in the senate, the senate minority leader, the republican leader in the senate, not a very warm and cuddly individual, but he gets up and calls this the most social bill ever before this body. he actually walked out of the hearing. after a battle back -- bitter battle the mother rhetorical message had been cast in stone. every suggestion by a democrat for expanding health care is socialism. people will remember how bitter the fight got in the obamacare debate. what's remarkable, and we tell this story clearly in the book, every single time it is socialism, the end of america as we know it.
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it is a huge ripple -- rhetorical battle and it's always one-sided. the republicans, the opponents will say, this is socialism to monday rocker see run amok. this is the panel's know. it's not. let us tell you the details of the bill. a clear, ideological message. on the other hand, panic. the inability to craft an alternative set of simple assembles about what is going on. this has been a scene that has recurred every single time. one of the questions we ask ourselves in the book as we go through these presidencies is why. wind is national health insurance much more than other pieces of legislation, why does it create such fervent debate and argument and anchor?
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as far as we can tell i think for reasons that we explain and complicated reasons, health care has become a symbol of the way americans are. for democrats it is a symbol of whether or not we as a society of for each other basic decency. it goes to the heart of what it means to be a liberal democrat. the republicans, health care is an example of something that ought to be a private market could. the democrats to try to take it into the public sector, so it goes to the heart of what a capitalist economy should be. as the heart of the republican message. since 1935 both democrats and republicans have used health care to answer the question who are we as americans. this is not about a program, not about taxes, not about benefits. it's about the definition of what americans are as each party sees it. so the two definitions of what
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it means to be republican of what it means to be a democrat seems to come into play with these proposals. ironically, that's where republicans have been more successful. they can actually a suede some of the open party to come along with their program. however, when republicans do that the party base in september for giving them. people of ronald reagan, but they did not like is medicare expansion. the party base has never forgiven george bush for passing this medicare expansion. those successes and up costing them in the long run because they violate the fundamental principle of what it is to be republican. likewise, for democrats, this goes to the heart of what it is to be a democrat. that's why our battles are great, and that the story we tell, the story beneath the story. we go into the archives, look at these people as man.
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we also look at these debates and what they mean for their parties and for america itself. there are lots of books on health care. i have written some myself. let's call them technical books. there are other books that look at the congressional process, some piece of that. as far as i know, there is no book that goes from president to president and looks at the presidency as a whole, that looks at how these men, as human beings, grappled with health care, got it through congress, went to the public, the whole package. so this is the only book as far as i know, and i think i know, this is the only book that looks at the presidency as an institution, has a set of human beings and how they grappled with what ends up being one of the great challenges for every president. one thing that's interesting, there are very few kinds of legislation that take up every
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single presidency. what does roosevelt and eisenhower and truman and kennedy and nixon have in common? well, they all done with the economy. they'll have to deal with foreign policy, and they all had to deal with health care. this offers a window into the presidency itself and into the way we have developed our health care system. a combination, and that think that is quite unique about this book. when people read their book but the paper stood -- when people read my book at think the first ballot and the come away with is to see each president as human beings. these are men, someday men and women, but these human beings with all the frailties that human beings have. and the first thing, the thing that really strikes you as you read in the archives, a
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complicated policy area, but when you see the humanity and you see both their strengths and weaknesses cannot some think they are crazy. the prime minister of england cost at one point during the crisis. richard nixon is to draw to take the call. the white house is trying to figure out how we put the prime minister on because the president is strong. i say this about richard nixon. he was a brilliant man, maybe pound for pound the smartest man we see. he sits in the -- across the street from the oval office, the fireplace calling, the air-conditioner turned up full crank, and he writes in yellow pads. some of it is brought to my have to be strong. some of it is billion stuff. you see the future of health care predicted piece by piece.
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all health care is in the shadow of richard nixon. these are in the archives, and you think, this it was a genius, a political genius. at the same time this was a man who could be so drawn, out of a truck at night in the white house, tortured her man that the whole white house had to explain to the people in england that the president is ill and in bed in and have to call you back tomorrow morning. you get a sense of the full package, not just this merely dull national of insurance bill that he really had a hand in. ecb extent to which he understood health care the extent to which he had to negotiate his own personal demons as to pass this. another example. jimmy carter, he knew he was smarter than everybody in the room and he tried to get into such detail. at one.
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a memo goes around. jimmy carter would take notes. you can see his handwriting. at one point in one health care memo he says, and don't forget about ps ro. this is a very obscure position review organization look. it should a president of the united states you have no business down the steep in the weeds. jimmy carter got way into the weeds. he was writing, we need this minor intervention by physicians that was his problem. he got sell into the leaves. the president's job was to tell the big picture. the very get a particular -- articulating the big picture. i think when people really opera
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to get a sense of this. the president as an individual, his own personality was really driving this kind of detailed look. that is an aspect of the presidency and in health care. the individual dry things for. >> for more information on book tv recent visit to providence, rhode island and the many other cities visited by our local content vehicles, good to c-span.org / local content. >> you don't always find many newspaper editors in any era in brace investigative reporting, but the point we have seen over the years is not just economics but the discomfort that investigative reporting often causes on the news from. because it's troublesome, it's more than the economics. if you're going to ruffle the feathers of somebody powerful,
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that it says people running into complaints of publisher. the stories about those kinds of things happening. work for people who are strong and upright in that area and just let the chips fall where they make. >> a pulitzer prize-winning investigative team will take your calls, e-mails, and tweets today on in depth. the pair began the collaborative work in the 70's of a co-authors of eight books. they're latest. watch live today at noon eastern on book tv on c-span2. >> here's a look at some books being published this week.
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>> here's a look at some
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upcoming book fairs and festivals happening around the country.
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>> well, they put us in a few, and i don't know, someone took a shot. as it is that shot was fired, i went down. i think it was something like 96 tanks and trucks that passed. each one would fire. there was a group. when they came around, anyone that was moaning a shot. >> put it simply, this town in belgium, 150 were made captive and 84 then shot down by ss forces that captured them. the survivors played dead after they were fired on by machine guns a close range from the distance from myself at the
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podium to use sitting in the audience, this range, machine guns were fired at these men. that did not run. they fell to the ground. >> and american convoy traveling through belgium is spotted and captured by german troops. author danny parker and survivor ted baluch on the massacre tonight at 9:00 eastern and pacific. part of american history tv this weekend on c-span2 three. >> up next on book tv, after words with guest host michael kazin, a georgetown university history professor and co-editor of dissent magazine. this week don't editor stone and to snake discuss the untold history of the united states to make companion book to the documentary series in which they argue u.s. leaders must chart a course for the future by honestly facing the country's troubling history.
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>> i should say i used to teach with peter at american university. why don't we start by one or both of you talking about what the major theme of this industry is and how you can to write it. >> guest: i was invited by peter in 1966 to go to his class of american university where he was teaching oliver stone's america in one of his glasses. i went, very impressed with it, the range of the students. afterward add to enter peter suggested there was a great story on the atomic bomb. it always fascinated me because i was born the year after was dropped. new york city, the center of the world. my father was republican and conservative and served in world war ii with eisenhower. so the bomb was